As many of you may know, we are a big fan of Gina and her pottery. We met her about 3 1/2 years ago when we were hosting a dinner series. Erin spotted her adorable tiny pots on Instagram and so we contacted her and begged her to make about 40 of them for our table display! She agreed and we have been buddies ever since! We now carry a full line of her beautiful ceramics and have a very hard time keeping them in the shop! When we pick up our inventory from her, we meet at her home. I am always inspired by how thoughtfully curated and welcoming her home feels. This is why I begged Gina to do this interview. To share with our readers why she values her home so much, and what guides her choices in what she allows in. Gina is the most lovely person, and it shines through in her pottery and in her home. We are thrilled to share some of her insight on values, daily rituals and the importance of home.
What do you do for a living? And where do you live?
I live in the Mid-City neighborhood of Los Angeles, and I make pottery for a living.
About a year and a half ago I started teaching ceramics classes as well. Before I started making pottery, I was a full-time professional dog walker and pet sitter, and I still do this for a couple of hours every day to help keep me active and because I love hanging out with dogs!
Describe your style?
Is there a name for the midpoint between minimalism and maximalism? I appreciate aspects of minimalism like simplicity, tranquility, and austerity, but I can’t help being drawn to things that are a bit untidy, interesting, unexpected, and I love pops of color here and there. I try to be minimalist in how many things I allow in my home, but I love having little collections, making vignettes of my favorite pieces, and I just like the visual interest that comes with having a little more than just the absolute basic necessities.
Aesthetically, I love lots of different things: simple, well-designed objects; vintage and “jungalow” style; things that are wild and colorful; things that feel luxurious; items with interesting patterns and textures; anything with some character. I like a little bit of everything.
Can you share three values that guide your life? Why these three?
Kindness to animals.
Animals have delighted and fascinated me my entire life, and I believe that they deserve to live happily and healthily just as we humans do. I feel that we have a duty to share the earth with animals, to protect them, and to not infringe on their basic rights to live naturally and peacefully.
We’re all different and special, we’re all flawed, and everyone is dealing with their own private struggles. We all deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion, and respect. This goes for myself too – I spent a long time being out of touch with my own needs and not fully understanding or accepting the way my mind works. Lately, I’ve been making sure I pay attention to my feelings instead of stifling them, and making sure my own needs are being met.
Creative expression is a huge joy for me and I want to encourage it in others. Teaching pottery classes has been so rewarding; it’s so fun helping people make their ideas come to life and watching my students fall in love with the process just like I did a few years ago. I get a lot of students who work in business or tech and don’t think they are very artistic, and it’s great to be able to help them unlock the creative part of their brain. For myself, I try to carve out time whenever I can to try new techniques, learn new crafts, improvise something in the kitchen, rearrange my apartment, and other small acts of creativity.
How do you make sure to keep your life in alignment with these values?
I try to navigate through life with as much empathy as I can, trying to understand and acknowledge everyone’s perspectives and needs. Choosing compassion over judgment or annoyance.
Since becoming a working artist, I have really felt the importance of supporting other artists and makers. I’m slowly replacing whatever I can in my home with things made by artisans and small independent businesses, whether it’s clothing, décor, artwork, personal care items, et cetera. It feels great to support other folks like me, and having a place full of unique things makes home much more special.
What ritual during the day holds the most value for you and helps you achieve what you wish to?
My lunchtime ritual has actually become one of the best parts of my day. After I’m done walking dogs, I come home to make lunch and rest a bit. This gives me a chance to recharge before I head to the studio, which I have come to realize is incredibly important to my practice. I do my best work when I’m feeling mentally and physically relaxed.
How do you feel that your values affect the energy of your home?
I want to be a gentle being in this world and create an atmosphere around me that makes people feel comfortable, and this is exactly what I try to create for myself and my guests at home.
Why is home important to you?
I’m an introvert and a homebody, and home is the only place where I feel fully at ease. Plus, I live alone, so I get to make all of the decisions here! I get a kick out of thinking about how massive the world is, and I have this tiny little cubby that is all mine. (Well, I’m a renter, but you know what I mean!)
We feel books are an essential aspect of a home. They add life and encourage learning and growing in a nurturing space such as home. Do you have a favorite book ( any genre) that inspires you? Why?
I have two.
The first is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book was so important for me in reframing the way I think about possessions. I was feeling massively bogged down by all of the stuff I’d mindlessly accumulated over the years, and most of it wasn’t all that useful or special. This book helped me learn how liberating it is to let go – or simply not bring into my apartment in the first place – of all of the things that I don’t truly need or treasure.
I’m building up a little library of pottery books, and my favorite is Making Pottery Without a Wheel by F. Carlton Ball and Janice Lovoos. It’s a fantastic general resource for hand builders, and I love the style and aesthetic of all of the projects – it was published in 1965, so everything has a wonderful hippie kind of feel. This is almost always the first book I reach for when I’m looking for inspiration.
What items in your home hold the most value to you? How do they add joy to your life?
I don’t know if this counts as an item, but hands down the best thing about my home is my cat, Fernando. He’s just about my favorite thing in the whole world and he’s such a big part of what makes me love being here. Nando always makes me laugh, whether he’s being a sweet boy or a sassy little jerk. Fellow cat people know what I mean!
My houseplants give the space so much life and vibrancy, and they’ve become an essential part of the atmosphere in here.
Lastly, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish as a potter, and there are a few special pieces I’ve kept that make me think, “Damn, girl, you look at that cool thing you made!”
Explain in one word, how your home makes you feel.